State Senator Craig Wilcox (R-McHenry) is standing with other Senate Republicans to once again push for tougher ethics reforms that will hold politicians more accountable and better equip officials to investigate public corruption. On Jan. 27, Republican senators outlined several much-needed and long-overdue reforms to help restore Illinoisans’ faith in their state government.
“Illinois is very well-known for the depth of its political corruption, yet the majority party seems disinterested in cleaning up state government,” said Sen. Wilcox. “Senate Republicans will continue to push for reforms that will raise the bar for ethical standards.”
During the press conference, the Republican senators announced Senate Bill 3636, which they say will help ensure that lawmakers are looking out for their constituents rather than special interests, and give prosecutors and the Attorney General enhanced tools to effectively investigate and prosecute public officials who break the law.
Specifically, Senate Bill 3636:
- Prohibits a General Assembly member, their spouse, or any immediate family member from lobbying as long as the individual is a member of the General Assembly.
- Prohibits a legislator during their term of office from negotiating employment with a lobbying firm (such as a job after their term of office), if that firm lobbies the General Assembly.
- Strengthens the revolving door for General Assembly members to prohibit them from lobbying for 12 months after leaving office (currently 6 months).
- Limits a lobbyist’s political activity so that anyone who is a lobbyist cannot be an officer for a candidate’s political committee or be a candidate supported by a political action committee.
- Expands the authority of a statewide grand jury to investigate and indict offenses involving the corruption of a public official, to include theft, fraud, extortion, or a violation of the official misconduct and public contracts articles of the criminal code of 2012.
- Expands Illinois’ R.I.C.O. law to include bribery, official misconduct, solicitation of misconduct, and legislative misconduct.
The announcement of Senate Bill 3636 comes on the heels of the resignation of former Legislative Inspector General, Carol Pope. Currently, that position remains vacant after Democrat members of the Legislative Ethics Commission failed to accept the recommended candidate brought forward by an independent search committee.
“Democrats showed us just how little concern they have over ethics when they disregarded the LIG recommendation of an independent search group, and allowed that position to become vacant,” added Sen. Wilcox. “There is currently no watchdog over the ethical behavior of legislators, and that’s just wrong.”
On January 6, following Pope’s resignation, Senate Republicans announced Senate Bill 3030, which would give the Legislative Inspector General more power to investigate potential corruption.
Neither Senate Bill 3030 nor Senate Bill 3636 have been released from the Senate’s Assignments Committee.